Winter is coming...well, actually, it's here right now, because this is Annotated Anime, the weekly Japanese cartoon recap that's only opted to change seasons today!
Despite our spiffy new headline, the season's more notable offerings have yet to drop in. We'll be previewing those soon in Japanator's Winter 2013 Preview Guide, but for now, we've got looks at the latest from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Girls und Panzer and Robotics;Notes, as well as recaps of Puchimas! and Yama no Susume, new winter anime that are simply too short to warrant a full First Impressions writeup!
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Episode 11
Ah, here's the new opening. I'm not so sure about the song itself but I love the colors and how the animation flows here. It really captures some of the changes that are found in Battle Tendency.
So JoJo is fighting Straits this episode and this is a really good introduction into Joseph's personality. He really can play the part of the jerk. Watch as how he attempts to lure Straits into not doing anything to the poor girl. Straits does call Jojo's bluff, however, and we get to see how passionate and determined he can become. I also love his line about how he will use his legs in the fight.
We also got a brief introduction to Stroheim, and let's just say this was another case of the anime being slightly censored. I'm okay with that, though. Whew. Anyway, here comes the guy in the pillar.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Episode 12
When Santana was "adjusting" himself, did anyone else get chills down their spine? Maybe I need to turn the heat up. Santana quickly shows that we are about to deal with an entirely different level of craziness here. He just straight up takes the vampire into his own body and just consumes it. Ew.
I really liked the the opposite tones going throughout this episode. Inside the secret Nazi base, everything was absolutely terrifying. All the while JoJo is trying to get inside and he is being a complete goofball — and this doesn't stop when he comes face to face with Santana either. These almost conflicting moods really made for a unique but enjoyable episode.
Robotics;Notes episode 11
Finally, now we're getting somewhere. Much to this viewer's relief, Robotics;Notes has started tugging at the threads that tie its subplots together. GUNVARREL, the Kou Kimijima reports, Aki's sister and her mysterious boss, and more. I expect that whatever it is the plot intends for the Robotics Club, as well as Kai and Aki in particular, to reveal what part they'll be playing in the drama.
It's especially amusing to see that the planned final episode of GUNVARREL basically "pulls an Ideon" (aka "pulling a Tomino") and going way dark and apocalyptic. If it were also a gore-fest like the end of Blood-C it would probably have sent Aki into a catatonic state.
It's good to see the plot starting to snowball properly. The build-up was this close to me saying that the show had genuine "pacing issues" instead of simply a methodical approach to setting up subplots.
Girls und Panzer episode 10.5
To the misfortune of all and sundry, Girls und Panzer is going on hiatus until March, which means the details and results of Miho's climactic tank battle against Maho will be delayed almost all the way to Spring 2013. To paraphrase a cool dude, these days without Girls und Panzer are days that shall live...in infamy.
Instead, we get episode 10.5, which like episode 5.5 before it, is a recap episode. But! Like everything else in Girls und Panzer, it is unexpectedly entertaining. Even without any new footage whatsoever. Besides of course recapping the events of the season up until the break, we also gain more information about Tankery as a sport, in addition to little bio details on the show's many girls, like their favorite tanks and (naturally) flowers.
But back to Tankery. We learn little details like the official range of accepted vehicles, which is anything before August 8th, 1945 - the Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombings and the effective end of World War II - with exceptions made for postwar and experimental vehicles on a case-by-case basis. It seems the super-modern Japanese Type-10 that the girls' instructor airdropped in on isn't eligible for competition, which raises the question of whether or not people in the world of Girls und Panzer still maintain tanks for, y'know, war and stuff.
There's that, as well as an explanation of the hilarious white flag that pops up out of disabled tanks, and why the girls aren't all dead from spalling or high explosive despite using live ammo. Turns out that the tanks use special rounds that use sensors to determine damage and penetration. I have to say this new revelation, though obviously a blatant handwave, detracts somewhat from the show's absurd mystique. Some questions are best left unanswered, after all.
Lastly, the show ends on an apologetic announcement of the final episodes' delay. Yes, Girls und Panzer. We're sorry, too.
Puchimas! episodes 1 to 3
What do you get when you adapt a comic strip starring Idolmaster characters hanging out with super-deformed versions of themselves? Puchimas! happens, and at 2-1/2 minutes an episode (with 1/5th of that time going to the intro and previous-episode recap), that's pretty much it. Brief in-jokes from the Idomaster canon, including a "Producer" with a "P" for a head. "Yukipo" likes to dig holes, "Afu" (Miki) likes to sleep, and eventually they'll introduce the chibi versions of Makoto, Haruka, and Ritsuko as well.
Antics ensue. Honestly, there's not much more to say, though I find it a little weird that the characters look as they did in the first Idolmaster game rather than the second (which last year's show is based on), so it's a little bit harder to treat this as a companion piece to the anime.
Yama no Susume episode 1
Some folks nicknamed this show "Girls und Mountain-Climbing" early on, but sadly none of that brilliance has shown through. To be fair, it's only 3-1/2 minutes long, and the first half of Girls und Panzer's first episode wasn't exactly riveting, either. There's a lot of room for this show to get better, though I can't say I'm entirely confident, given the setup.
"Timid girl gets badgered by energetic friend into doing something she doesn't want to do" is hardly the most original concept to hit the airwaves. But who knows, their mountain could be placed on a gigantic space rocket, and mountain climbing is secretly the world's most womanly sport.